Living through coronavirus: For Butler County teacher, ‘the unknowns out there are really troubling’

A Middletown High School teacher said when she last saw her seniors on Friday — even though it was two weeks before spring break — it resembled an end-of-the-year experience.

Except there was no celebrating.

“There was a lot of consoling them,” said Cora Thompson, who teaches English to sophomores and seniors.

“There may not be a graduation, a prom this year. The seniors are thinking ahead. Some of those life experiences, they may not have. They may not have those end marks, those milestones. That would be a loss for them.”

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Monday was the first day of at least two weeks that Middletown students will be taking classes remotely to prevent spread of the coronavirus. Thompson said some of her students don’t have computer access at home so she’s unsure how the lessons will be taught.

“That is an issue,” said Thompson, who added teachers met with district officials Monday to discuss plans. “Students shouldn’t be penalized for their financial situation.”

She has instructed her students to continue reading, continue writing. She said classes being held online the rest of the school year is a “very real possibility.”

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In her 20th year in the district, Thompson said she’s also going to miss the daily interaction with her students. It’s impossible to have that through remote connection, she said.

“You learn a lot by looking at a child’s face,” she said. “Sometimes it’s nice to give them a high-five. Some of that basic stuff that we took for granted.”

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Also, she said, teachers hold “different hats.” They also offer adult advice or support for their students, she said.

“That will be greatly limited,” she said.

This is new territory for Thompson. As a teacher, she has been “a center for truth and knowledge” for the students. But right now, she has more questions than answers. Her high school diploma and degrees from Miami and Wright State universities didn’t teach her how to deal with the coronavirus.

“So many questions haven’t been addressed,” said Thompson, 45. “The unknowns out there are really troubling. This is a new experience for me in education, in life.”

She has two grown children: daughter Marene Mathews works for Amazon and son Trevon Mathews is a senior at Miami.

Thompson was asked what lesson she has taken away from life with the coronavirus: “Waiting and hoping for the absolute best.”


We’re looking to profile people throughout our coverage area about how the coronavirus is impacting your daily life. If you’re interested in sharing your story about how you’re affected or adapting to the situation, call Journal-News reporter Rick McCrabb at 513-483-5216 or email

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